Q&A: BVI To The Chesapeake Bay In October

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Question: We are bringing our Beneteau 411 from the BVI via the Bahamas to the Chesapeake Bay,  leaving the end of October. The first leg of the trip, from the BVI to the Bahamas, is going to be the two of us (my husband and I). From the Bahamas to the Chesapeake Bay we will pick up two other crews. Since this is going to be our first time open sea sailing, I need your advice about what the weather will be like. My husband believes that the two of us can handle the sailing to the Bahamas with no third person but  I am not quite sure about this and quite worried. Please advise.

Answer: There is nothing intrinsically hard about the route; in fact, you can do the whole thing in fairly short hops and the winds will be predominantly from behind you. Once you get to Florida, you can go up the waterway, with no offshore exposure at all, as long as you don’t draw too much water and your mast is not over 64′ tall.

However, the timing is not the greatest. It will still be the hurricane season when you start off and you will be sailing toward winter. I would be particularly concerned if you plan to go outside Cape Hatteras, less so if you go inside.

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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for 25 years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 20 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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